The water of Northwestern Ontario

The lakes of Northwestern Ontario have the power to restore a soul.
And if scientists should test that hypothesis, they would concur–and it would be documented and written up in medical journals and the like, and everyone would know what Fort Frances residents (and those in surrounding communities) have known for a very long time; forever, in fact.
It is the water that calls us home.
I had the wonderful opportunity to spend a couple of days with my precious “old” friend in Red Lake, where we spent time on the water.
I can’t remember feeling that sublimely happy in a very long time. As Angie maneuvered her and I over the water in her Lund, the spray washed up into my face and cooled me with its amazing powers, and though I hadn’t been to Red Lake since my high school volleyball days, I felt I had come home.
I looked in Angie’s face and I saw all that we were: the laughter, the dreams, the whole of us, and time falls away; the disappointments and failures vanish, and all that is present is the perfection that we were.
It’s no wonder we are drawn home with such a force. Like the carrier pigeon, the Monarch butterfly, the sea turtle, the penguin, we all know where home is.
As I drive over the Causeway and gaze out over Rainy Lake, I feel my heart rate slow, my skin begins to warm and relax, and my breath lengthens.
The changes at first glance upon arriving in Fort Frances are extreme, jarring even, but beneath all that is now, is what once was, without exception.
My first stop has to be Betty’s; to hug Blair and Doug and now Justin, too, and to know with certainty that nothing really changes.
The parts of us that matter, the cells that hold the images, that hold the memories of who we were as children, can’t be lost, can’t be forgotten–even long after we have stopped telling the story of who we were.
Each one of us still are galloping ponies down the River Road, are jumping from wagons of hay, are wrestling with newborn calves, are waving to friends who pass by, are picnicking by the river, are crawling into Annie’s lap. And all the best parts of us rise to the surface.
I will be back. I can’t wait.
wendistewart@live.ca

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